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© 1999 Friends of Lake Powell, Inc.
www.lakepowell.org
P.O. Box 7007
Page, AZ 86040 USA
(928) 645-2741  Fax: 928-353-2227

OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. HELEN CHENOWITH
A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS
FROM THE STATE OF IDAHO

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. You know, sometimes those of us who work in this body find the most audacious and arrogant ideas coming in front of us; but I will tell you, this one takes the cake. The fact that we would even start with the hearing on draining Lake Powell and then move on into other areas that have impoundment facilities and working activity on our rivers, which has been historic from the beginning of the founding of this country, to even start pulling the plug on America's commerce with these kinds of visions is unthinkable.

However, when groups like the Sierra Club, who, by the way, has become very powerful in the U.S. Congress, very, very powerful, and I am going to begin to make an appeal, Mr. Chairman, to those corporate entities who support these ideas, and appeal to them to look to America first, because what is happening with the beginning of the pulling of the plug at Lake Powell, there is also, right next to that, the pulling of the plug of several dams on the Colombia River which—and the Snake River which affect my district very, very directly.

Yes, this is audacious, arrogant, and very self-centered on the part of an organization who wants to make sure that they have an issue that takes on national proportions that will help them with their fund-raising capabilities.

Lake Powell was built around 1922, and it contains $.2 billion worth or stimulates $.2 billion worth of agriculture industry stretching across seven States.

It produces a thousand megawatts, utilized by 20 million residents in California, Arizona, and Nevada. And it is worth $800 million industry annually.

The Navajo project, as part of the Glen Canyon system, provides power for 3 million customers and employs 2,000 people. For recreation, the Glen Canyon National Recreation area has almost 3 million visitors annually, which brings in $500 million annually to the regions of 42,000 people who also annually float the river below Glen Canyon. Thirty thousand anglers enjoy the blue ribbon trout fishery.

And one of the most important items, Mr. Chairman, is that Glen Canyon Dam was built also for the purpose of flood control on a river that experiences runoff flows up to 400,000 cubic feet per second. That can be very devastating.

We have already dealt with the environmental issues. But I would ask these members who are making these proposals who—and this type of proposal will devastate the income ability of thousands and hundreds of thousands of people, take away their life-style, and change the face of the commercial activity and the environment drastically. What is going to happen to your healthy wages? What is going to happen to your steady employment, those members of the Sierra Club who are dreaming up these ideas?

Unfortunately, their vision is not—we don't really count in their vision. I am not sure what their vision is, but I don't believe that it is healthy for America. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

For more information contact. friends@lakepowell.org